[ubuntu-uk] BBC Click

Grant Sewell dcglug at thymox.co.uk
Mon Jun 6 17:50:51 UTC 2011

On Mon, 6 Jun 2011 18:13:29 +0100
J Fernyhough wrote:

> On 6 June 2011 17:57, Paul Tansom <paul at aptanet.com> wrote:
> > I don't know how many people watch Click on the BBC News channel,
> > but I thought I'd note that they had a piece on the Raspberry Pi on
> > the last one (over the weekend), with a mention of Ubuntu as part
> > of a piece on the lack of decent IT education in schools and the
> > need to do it better - i.e. programming and more in depth knowledge
> > rather than just how to use MS Office.
> >
> > It is available online at http://bbc.co.uk/click and for the moment
> > is the top item.
> >
> Great sentiment, never going to happen.
> Firstly, the vast majority of teachers don't have the skills of
> knowledge to be able to teach anything other than office skills - and
> even then most can't even do that properly! For example, you'll be
> hard pressed to find an ICT teacher who has a science, engineering or
> computing background - most are business or management, or even PE.
> When one particular example won't touch on image editing (despite it
> being in the scheme of work) because they'd have to learn how to use
> Photoshop Elements what hope is there of getting them to do any sort
> of programming?
> Secondly, the majority of children don't care about how a computer
> works (any more than they care how a car works) - they just want to
> use it. Granted, there are always some who do, and there are always
> extra-curricular clubs and GCSE and A-level Computing for them.
> However, the same children who are interested in how a computer works
> also tend to be those who take Maths and Sciences at A-level;
> Computing doesn't have the same appeal.
> Essentially, it comes down to the fact that teaching difficult stuff
> is difficult, and most teachers aren't up to it. To teach it in an
> interesting and engaging way is difficult, and to keep up with the
> pace of change relies on them having an interest in the topic, and
> again, most don't. The number of teachers who can do it, and are
> interested in it, are outnumbered and out-gunned.
> Jonathon

Unfortunately I would have to agree with most of your sentiments there,
Jonathon.  I teach IT from "Level 1" through to "Level 3" (GCSEs are
deemed "Level 2") at a college of FE and in my experience the majority
of IT teachers at secondary schools do the bare minimum they can as
they really don't understand it themselves, since they're not IT

I think the problem is primarily 2-fold.  Firstly, and this is a *HUGE*
generalisation, people inclined towards IT will either find teaching or
the idea of teaching off-putting as it will most likely involve
interacting with, and being in a custodial role of youngsters (who are
usually quite a difficult bunch to work with) or they will find the
attractiveness of working in higher-paid environments more enticing
(let's be honest - teaching isn't one of the better paid environments
out there).

Secondly, on the other side of the coin, a lot of people who are in a
position where they teach IT at secondary schools are in that position
not because they are particularly adept with computers and not even
because they are more adept than their colleagues, but because they
didn't have enough teaching hours on their timetable to warrant a
full-time position and the school needed to put someone up as an IT

I find myself in a rather privileged position.  I am a self-confessed
geek.  I find most aspects of computers interesting and I am happy to
spend my spare time reading and researching topics that grab my
attention.  Yes, I have my specialisms but I frequently find that my
knowledge of my non-specialist topics is greater than some of my peers
who teach them... because I find them fascinating and so read, read and
read some more about the topics.  I also happen to enjoy teaching.


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